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Bible Dictionaries

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible

Earth

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EARTH in OT usually stands for one or other of the Heb. words ’eretz and ’adâmâh . In AV [Note: Authorized Version.] these are rendered indiscriminately ‘earth’ and ‘ ground ,’ but RV [Note: Revised Version.] distinguishes them by using, to some extent, ‘earth’ for the former, and ‘ground’ for the latter. Both words have a wide range of meanings, some of which they possess in common, while others are peculiar to each. Thus ’eretz denotes: ( a ) earth as opposed to heaven ( Genesis 1:1 ), and ( b ) dry land as opposed to sea. ( Genesis 1:20 ). ’adâmâh is specially used: ( a ) for earth as a specific substance ( Genesis 2:7 , 2 Kings 5:17 ); and ( b ) for the surface of the ground, in such phrases as ‘face of the earth.’ Both words are employed to describe: ( a ) the soil from which plants grow, ’adâmâh being the more common term in this sense; ( b ) the whole earth with its inhabitants, for which, however, ’adâmâh is but rarely used; and ( c ) a land or country, this also being usually expressed by ’eretz . In one or two cases it is doubtful in which of the two last senses ’eretz is to be taken, e.g. Jeremiah 22:29 (EV [Note: English Version.] ‘earth,’ RVm [Note: Revised Version margin.] ‘land’).

In NT the Gr. words for ‘earth’ are gç and oikoumenç , the former having practically all the variety of meanings mentioned above, while the latter denotes specially the whole inhabited earth, and is once used ( Hebrews 2:5 ) in a still wider sense for the universe of the future. See, further, art. World.

James Patrick.

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Earth'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/hdb/e/earth.html. 1909.

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